How to Use Humor in Your Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date




Humor can be an extremely powerful tool to enhance learning from presentations. In my national survey of 342 corporate training professionals, I found that most agree that humor not only enhances learning, but also helps participants relax, increases the amount of participation in sessions, and helps participants feel they belong. Some also felt that humor can make participants feel like objects of ridicule. Humor can have a positive or negative impact on learning depending on the type of humor used, the setting in which it is presented, and the intent of the humor.

This article shows some principles I use for developing humor that lead to a positive impact on learning. These principles come from successful (and unsuccessful) experiences I have had in making presentations in companies and colleges.